Over the past few years in efforts to resolve human rights complaints, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) approached the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) and the Toronto Police Service (TPS) to include specific public interest remedies.
A committee including representation of all three parties (OHRC, TPSB and the TPS) met during the spring and summer of 2006 to review change initiatives already underway at the TPS, and to discuss avenues to resolve complaints.
A joint working group of the three parties was then struck and a Project Charter agreement was developed to support both the TPS’ change initiatives and to satisfy the OHRC’s need to have public interest concerns addressed. The Project Charter outlines how the three parties will work together to address discrimination in employment and in the delivery of policing services to the public. The Project will end when parties are satisfied that support is no longer needed for the TPSB and TPS to fulfill its initiatives.
The TPSB and TPS are responsible for their own change process and for informing the OHRC of ongoing change initiatives. The OHRC’s role is to provide advice to the TPSB and TPS on their change initiatives, negotiate target change objectives, and with the other parties, to monitor and report on progress achieved.
At the start, the Project specifically targets the following four key areas:
Recruitment, selection and promotion:
- support ongoing efforts to recruit and hire qualified individuals reflective of the diversity in the City of Toronto with a respect for human rights and regard for the language skills, cultural competencies and community ties necessary to provide policing services equitably.
- promote qualified individuals within the TPS with the goal of developing a TPS workforce that is reflective and representative, at all levels, of the diversity in the City of Toronto.
- if necessary, develop and implement further recruitment, hiring and promotional initiatives to meet such goals.
- provide diversity training and engage in on-going professional development by providing all staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide policing services that are anti-racist, non-discriminatory, professional, respectful, tolerant, inclusive and ethnoculturally sensitive.
- provide training on what constitutes racially-biased policing, racial profiling, racial discrimination and harassment, disability discrimination and harassment, or any other violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
- review and evaluate all current training programs, materials and curriculum, provided to both new recruits and current staff address issues of equity and diversity as well as racially-biased policing, racial profiling, racial discrimination and harassment, disability discrimination and harassment.
- ensure that the public is aware of their rights and responsibilities when interacting with the TPS by ensuring that information is posted on the Web site, and by developing and distributing a plain-language brochure containing such information.
- develop and implement specific, individual, measurable and achievable performance indicators to support change initiatives by all levels of management of the TPS.
The desired change/outcome will be monitored via regular public reports to the TPSB by the Chief of Police. And, the OHRC will assess the effectiveness of the monitoring and make appropriate recommendations.